Northern Ireland

New water mains for Belfast in £10m upgrade

Water tap
Image caption Forty miles of new water mains will be laid over the next year

Belfast's water supply network is to get a £10.2m upgrade over the next year.

Forty miles (65km) of new water mains will be laid in the south, north and west of the city.

The work is due to begin next month and will run until December 2014.

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy said: "The upgraded water mains will improve the quality, reliability and security of the local water supply right across Northern Ireland."

Half of the £10m will be spent in west Belfast, focusing on the Andersonstown, Falls Road, Springfield Road and Whiterock areas.

The work in south Belfast will cost approximately £3m and will be in the Belvoir, Newtownbreda, Finaghy, Malone and Balmoral Avenue areas.

The remaining £2m will be spent in the greater Shankill, Antrim Road and Shore Road areas of north Belfast.

Mr Kennedy added: "While reducing leakage and improving pressure in the area, it will also help protect many important jobs in the hard-pressed construction sector."

Low-dig technology

Sara Venning, the interim chief executive of NI Water, said they will do everything possible to keep traffic disruption to a minimum during the work.

She said: "The scale of the ongoing water mains project has required extensive work on local roads.

"However, where possible, we will use state-of-the-art low-dig technology throughout this programme of work which will enable us to lay many of the mains without the need to open large trenches.

"NI Water will, in co-operation with Roads Service, do everything possible to keep any disruption to a minimum.

"We will also work with Translink to ensure that public transport services function with minimum disruption."